It was the middle of August 2001, and my adventures at orientation at my University were about to begin.
My Father and I had finally made it to Los Angeles. LAX was as I remembered it the previous summer when we visited as a family.
The palm trees that dotted the landscape welcomed me to my new home. We spent a few days with family friends before it was time to move into the dorms.
I was excited and yet anxious at the same time the day I moved into the dorms. I remember trying to smile, but inside, I wished I was back home, either in Ndola or Mkushi.
Thankfully I had my support system, my Father and his friend from his University days, my Uncle Steve. They both were with me as I checked into Alpha, the all-girls dorm.
My Adventures Moving into the dorms
The Resident Assistants Pamela and Amanda we’re super friendly. My room was at the end of the hallway. It looked so big and empty.
After putting down my suitcase and carry on, the first port of call was the Administrative building to get my ID card. I left my people outside and went in to get my picture taken. I still remember what top I was wearing that day. It did not take long, and I walked out with my new ID card.
The next port of call was joining the long registration line that snaked around the administrative building. This meant going through the financial checkpoint, with the admin staff ensuring all the school fees for the term were paid, the health checkpoint, to sign up for a student health plan.
By the time I had reached the end of the registration line, I was tired. So I retired from my room, while my dad also retired for the day and returned to his room at a hotel nearby. I was invited to have some pizza by some of my new hallmates, Angela and Olivia. So I went to their room and got to socialise and make new friends.
The next day I finally met my new roommate Krystal. It was so good to finally see who I had been chatting with all these months. Also, my Auntie S, a family friend, had arrived from Santa Rosa with basically all I need to make my dorm room a home away from home. So I spent the day unboxing my new stuff and making the space mine.
The next few days of Orientation were jam-packed with so many different activities. As we met in small groups at times and at other times gathered as a larger group.
As an introvert, it was a bit overwhelming at times. But I soldiered on. I hadn’t come all the way to give up.
Thankfully, there were a few hours when I could have some alone time with my Papa. But sadly, all good times must come to an end. It was time for the Papa bird to leave his child in her new home.
It was a Thursday morning. I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I had attended my morning orientation sessions and then met him at the Biola Bookstore, where we bought some branded Biola stuff for my siblings. Afterwards, we sat down on some chairs outside the Eagles Nest and discussed a bit. Then we walked toward my dorm and stopped at the entrance of Alpha Dorms. It was there he hugged me, said goodbye and continued walking until he was out of my sight. I cried as I watched my last connection to my family and home leave me to begin new adventures.
On Friday evening the next day, I would attend a Ray Charles concert at the Hollywood Bowl with all the incoming students. Indeed I was starting my university adventures on a high note.